My Grandma

Today is my grandma’s 91st birthday. Pretty impressive! What’s more impressive? She just returned to the U.S. from a 3 week trip to Sicily to visit us- at 90!

Look at that classy lady!

grams classy

four of us

The four of us at lunch

My grandma is quite the traveler. She didn’t take her first overseas trip until she was in her 50s (and it was to China!), but since then, she’s gone to something like 40 different countries, some multiple times. She’s traveled with friends, with family, even by herself. I’ve been lucky enough to take two trips with her, the first to China when I was 16 and the second to Europe when I was 20. Her main travel buddy these past years has been my mom, they’ve gone on multiple different trips, each one marketed to my dad as “this may be the last trip I ever take with my mom.” Each time though, they sign up for another.

Her trip out to Sicily was great. You don’t see a lot of 90-year-olds walking around here, so I was a bit nervous about how she would do on the cobblestone streets and narrow sidewalk-less roads. It wasn’t a problem though. We walked through the fish market in Catania, took the cable car up to the top of Mount Etna, took a road trip to Pompeii, saw the temple ruins of Agrigento, and walked the Ceramic Steps in Caltagirone. She even got free admission to the castle in Aci Castello because the woman at the top was so impressed she climbed all the way up there. And at the end of each day, she climbed the three flights of stairs back up to my apartment.


The Catania fish market




At the top of the castle where she gained free entry for her impressive stair climbing


Valley of the Temples in Agrigento

grams cat

The cat loved her

She is so fun to take places because she’s interested in everything. She knows more about the world than I ever will, and she’s willing to do anything. Three weeks before she came here, she spent a week camping with my family on the Oregon coast. Again, at 90! She slept in a tent and even rode in a sand rail. Last year on her 90th birthday she walked in the Susan G. Komen 3-day 60-mile walk with my mom and sister in Seattle. She didn’t do all 60 miles, but she did 5 miles the first day, 4 miles the second, and a mile or so the third (but it was raining). Komen even wrote a blog post about her:

Susan G. Komen 3-day 60-mile walk, at 90!

Susan G. Komen 3-day 60-mile walk, at 90!


Sand Railing in the Oregon dunes

dunes 2

Camping in Oregon

We asked her what she thought was the key to her longevity. We think it’s good genes and a good attitude, and staying active. She also doesn’t drink alcohol, but we’re pretty sure that’s not it 😉

Her mother lived well into her 90s, died in her sleep, and there wasn’t even a dirty dish in her kitchen. When one of her brothers passed away in his late 80s, he had a trip to Europe booked for later that year. Two years ago, I saw her other brother run up a whole flight of stairs after playing a game of ping pong, and last year he partied all night at my wedding. Talk about good genes! She walks every day, reads a few books a week, stays in contact with her family and friends, and is one of the most optimistic people I know.

So, Happy Birthday, Grams. I know everyone in our family hopes we age as well as you.


About roxy jamieson

Discovering life in Sicily.
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6 Responses to My Grandma

  1. martagajo says:

    Happy Birhday to your grantma! She seems to be d great lady and you can be very proud of her 🙂

  2. Sally Dunbar says:

    Roxy that is the most impressive tribute to your grandma I can imagine. She will be honored. What a gift. She really is amazing. Happy birthday NONA – Nancy At Ninety One

  3. Sally Dunbar says:


    Sally Dunbar (916) 524-1548

  4. MitchTarr says:

    Fantastic a article. What an amazing woman! Thanks for sharing and pass on a Happy Birthday to her from your Sacramento friends. Love your blogs, keep them coming 😄

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Diane Ullman says:

    Roxy, this was inspirational! Thanks so much for telling the story of one remarkable woman – a role model for all of us, young and old.

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